Day 6 – Chemicals Destroy the Environment

Sue Feldman

Target Level: Grade 4, Grade 5

Subject Area: Health, Science

Class Time: 50 minutes


  1. Students will learn about the chemicals destroying the environment in Japan in Minamata Bay.
  2. Students will discuss the differences between a natural disaster and man-made pollution.
  3. Students will describe the purpose of the factory near Minamata Bay. Want or Need discussion.
  4. Students will look at the picture of the fish with different levels of mercury in them.
  5. How is this chemical affecting our food supply? The food supply in Japan?

PA State Standards

Subject: Civics and Government (outdated)

Area 5.2: Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship

Grade/Course 5.2.3: Grade 3

Standard E.: Describe ways citizens can influence the decisions and actions of government.

Subject: Economics

Area 6.5: Work and Earnings

Grade/Course 6.5.6: Grade 6

Standard D.: Explain how profits and losses serve as incentives.

Subject: Health, Safety & Physical Education

Area 10.2: Healthful Living

Grade/Course Grade 3

Standard E.: Identify environmental factors that affect health.

  • Key Content: pollution
  • Key Content: waste disposal

Student Assessment

The students will be writing a formal persuasive letter to the Chisso Corporation. This letter will be assessed on important facts included such as Minamata disease. The writing will include proper paragraphs and persuasive language.

Materials and Use of Technology


Sequence of Instruction Including Hook and Closure

Hook – Yesterday we spent time looking at ‘natural disasters’. Today, we will look at some pollution that occurred because of human decisions.

  1. Show the Minamata Bay- Chisso Corporation article. Read/discuss the factory and how this chemical pollution has been occurring.
  2. Show the mercury levels in fish chart.
  3. Talk about why we would care about this pollution? How is it affecting the Japanese people? Does it affect the United States?
  4. Write a persuasive letter to the head of the Chisso Corporation, encouraging him to solve this chemical waste issue differently.